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"Are wargamers above average?" Topic

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AussieAndy14 Oct 2018 8:30 p.m. PST


Here are two questions which my younger son asked over dinner.

1. Is the average wargamer better educated than the average member of the public?

2. Is the average wargamer wealthier than the average member of the public?

Based on the wargamers that I know, I suspect that the answer to 1 is yes. Most have at least a bachelor degree and there are a couple with doctorates. I suspect that the answer to 2 (among my small sample) would also be yes, which would be unsurprising if the sample is better
educated than average.

Of course, it is arguable that you need a few brain cells to be a wargamer and it is not the cheapest hobby around, so those factors might have an impact. Australia is also probably not going to provide the best sample, as we haven't had a recession for 27 years (apparently a world record) because we dodged the GFC.

What do you think?



Winston Smith14 Oct 2018 8:42 p.m. PST

1. I know a lot more about unimportant things than a lot of people.

Zephyr114 Oct 2018 8:46 p.m. PST

I'm on the plus side for (1), for (2) 'wealthier', not so much, so I guess I'm 'average'… ;-)

Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 9:07 p.m. PST

1. Some of us certainly are, though I have seen a few folks on TMP and at conventions display about as much sense as God gave rutabagas.
2. We may be wealthier, or we may just be further along in our careers. Last year, I made about 8-9 times what I did in 1979. Back then, my income was below average; now it is above average.


Personal logo StoneMtnMinis Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 9:13 p.m. PST

Are wargamers above average? Yes, at least their mothers like to think so.


Personal logo Gungnir Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 9:18 p.m. PST

1 – only where obscure little known facts are concerned, only good for Trivial Pursuit.

2 – very much not me.

Personal logo Bobgnar Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 9:24 p.m. PST

what is the population within which the average is to be calculated? Certainly, all warmers are above the average education of the whole world. Likewise wealthier.

Aethelflaeda was framed14 Oct 2018 9:47 p.m. PST

All of them are, strong, rich, good looking and above average in the brains department. They live in lake woebegone

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Oct 2018 10:40 p.m. PST

I think that institutions of higher education are a major source of wargamers. Education exposes people to all sorts of dangerous things, like contraception, socialism, wargaming, and Bergman films.

Also, the experience of wargaming requires substantial reading and analysis of rules, rewards reading and analysis of history, and allows writing of rules and scenarios by the wargamers. The more educated people are, the more they are, usually, predisposed to enjoying reading, analyzing, and writing.

So I think the answer to the first question is "yes". Whether they are more intelligent is something else entirely. There appears to be only a slight relationship betwen intelligence and education. I myself, for example, was just intelligent enough to follow my father's advice and stay in school and go to college and more, so that I could get jobs that let me work inside, with no heavy lifting.

Regarding the second question, people with more education, on average, earn more money than people with less education. So I expect the answer to the second question to be "yes".

See also the recent article in The Economist on Games Workshop:

TMP link

The writer notes that wargamers are richer now than in times past, having taken over the tech industry.

I submit that the tech industry has always been a source of wargamers, but the industry started making them rich, as opposed to middle class, in the last 20 or so years.

JimSelzer14 Oct 2018 11:34 p.m. PST

to ? 1 yes because gaming tends to draw from the nerd/brain side of the general population

as for ?2 that can be skewed because about 50% of the gamers I know (and I am 57) are single so they spend more on toys so to speak and the ones who avoid personal relationships tend to drive older cars , have less flashy clothes,

Green Tiger15 Oct 2018 2:01 a.m. PST

I am dirt poor but highly educated…

Cacique Caribe15 Oct 2018 3:10 a.m. PST

Above average weight, perhaps. And above average resourcefulness and creativity. :)


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 3:42 a.m. PST

You'd have to do the sample country by country, and you'd have to correct for age to make meaningful comparisons. Once you'd done that, I'd expect historical miniatures players to be somewhat ahead of the general population in formal education and income--more so in formal education.

But statistics only take you so far. I've certainly known enough poor and poorly educated historical miniature wargamers.

Dynaman878915 Oct 2018 4:12 a.m. PST

1 – Not in my experience. I've seen just as many without college degrees as with degrees. At least to the ratio I've heard quoted as the norm for the US.

2 – Not in my experience. Once again, the average appears to run the US normal.

Frederick Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 5:00 a.m. PST

If you pick the whole world, sure

If you contain yourself to the US, Canada, Europe and Australia/New Zealand, maybe not so much so yes 2) but probably for 1)

Andoreth15 Oct 2018 5:52 a.m. PST

I think we start out wealthier but sadly the cost of the hobby reduces us to penury.

mad monkey 115 Oct 2018 6:00 a.m. PST

So true.

skipper John Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 6:01 a.m. PST

I think Winston hit it dead on.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 7:32 a.m. PST

It depends on how you define and measure (two different processes) abstract things like education and wealth. So …

PDF link

I am above world, North American, 1st World country, and US adult average in both categories. So is almost everyone I game with. Many of the people with whom I game that are not above average in both are young adults on the path to becoming so.

Compared to the entire world is not a particularly enlightening standard.


Legion 415 Oct 2018 8:13 a.m. PST

Winston +1 …

Joes Shop Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 8:17 a.m. PST

Winston: +2

martin goddard Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 8:31 a.m. PST


79thPA Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 9:01 a.m. PST

No and No.

JimSelzer15 Oct 2018 9:30 a.m. PST

my non gamer friends always want me to go to Tavern Trivia with them

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 10:09 a.m. PST

My non-gamer friends invited me to play Risk with them.

They never invited me again.

Stryderg15 Oct 2018 10:23 a.m. PST

I think wargamers are more focused on education than your average Joe. I mean, we like to read history where your average person tries not to read at all. (I work in a school system and the number of students who place no value on an education makes me weep.)

Phillius Sponsoring Member of TMP15 Oct 2018 11:35 a.m. PST

I think Winston and Cacique Caribe have it spot on.

No education for me, I just went to school to play football.

Well above average income earner for the last 40 years. But I can't figure out where it has all gone.

Wolfhag15 Oct 2018 12:52 p.m. PST

More educated? Yes, we can all read and count to at least 6. I've always wondered why most non-wargamers prefer using only D6's, now I know.

Wealthier? Yes, let the average person try to buy all of the Flames of War publications and outfit three armies without becoming homeless. You never see games or figures in pawn shops do you. You never see someone standing on the street corner holding a cardboard sign saying, "Will work for Battlefront Team Yankee German Leopard 1 Panzer Zug Tank Models" do you?

I bought the first printing of D&D in the brown box for $5.00 USD and sold it for $450 USD, Warren Buffet eat your heart out!


Timmo uk15 Oct 2018 1:00 p.m. PST

No to both. I don't think you can generalise and surely our individual thoughts can only really be based on anecdotal evidence.

AussieAndy15 Oct 2018 6:45 p.m. PST

Thank you for the responses. I understand that most of you can only give your impressions based on personal experience, but that is all I was seeking.

I'm not sure that the sort of knowledge that fills the heads of wargamers is likely to be of much use in playing modern editions of Trivial Pursuit (the one we got for the kids assumes a detailed knowledge of reality tv and soap operas).

arthur181516 Oct 2018 12:08 a.m. PST

How does one define, or determine, 'the average wargamer'?

Personal logo 20thmaine Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2018 5:14 a.m. PST

A lot of GW's market demographic are a bit young for degrees and Investment portfolios….

14Bore16 Oct 2018 4:00 p.m. PST

I would tell him having a interest in figures and military history will get you to read to learn more about whatever your collection takes you.
And would guess your war gaming has absolutely nothing to do with your finances, you will spent what you can. There are millionaires and famous people and then you have your average carpenter

Legion 417 Oct 2018 8:33 a.m. PST

+1 14Bore … Most people I run into have little interest in any history. But they do care about what Kim K. is doing, the score of last night's game and the price of gas … evil grin

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